HAMMOND — A man who enjoyed the thrill of killing a pizza delivery driver is going to prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon imposed a 35-year sentence Tuesday on 23-year-old Terryante A. Flournoy.
Flournoy pleaded guilty in June to luring David J. Shelton, 30, of Portage, into a holdup Nov. 24, 2019, and then callously shooting him to death.
Flournoy told a witness after the killing, “This is the life.”
Flournoy has prior felony convictions for theft and battery.
Federal defender Peter L. Boyles said in mitigation that Flournoy is mildly mentally disabled and has a number of psychiatric disorders.
Boyles said Flournoy had a difficult childhood and no real relationship with his father, who was incarcerated for most of Flournoy’s life, and grew up in a crime-ridden Gary neighborhood, exposed to drugs and violence at a young age.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Caitlin Padula argued Flournoy had the foresight to arrange an ambush of his victim, obtain a relative’s rifle and then delete incriminating texts from his cellphone afterwards.
Flournoy and his co-defendant, Ciontay Wright, both admitted during their earlier guilty pleas they planned to rob a pizza delivery driver to obtain money to buy Wright’s girlfriend a birthday present.
They called Luigi’s Pizza in Gary to deliver a pizza to an address in the 3700 block of Washington Street — an abandoned house a few doors down from Flournoy’s home.
When Shelton arrived with the pizza, Flournoy confronted him with a American Tactical Omni Hybrid rifle and demanded money.
As Shelton was reaching into his jacket, Flournoy fired his rifle, killing Shelton.
Flournoy and Wright fled without any money. Flournoy later told Wright’s girlfriend he thought Shelton was reaching for a gun and "this is the life."
Shortly after the murder, Flournoy deleted all the data from his cellphone.
Nevertheless, Padula said Investigators with the FBI's Gang Response Investigative Team and the Lake County/Gary Metro Homicide recovered incriminating evidence and traced phone calls Flournoy made to the pizza business.
They also located a Facebook video from one hour before the killing showing Flournoy throwing gang signs and holding what appears to be the same rifle he used in the attempted robbery.
Wright is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.